Posts tagged Adventure
Today I’m thrilled to welcome Cheryl Headford to the blog. Cheryl, what is one thing readers might not know about you?
In the nine years he’d lived in town, Tallie Tarmelin woke to the same sounds every morning. The shrill blast of the gristmill’s steam whistle. The hollow clop of the draught horses’ hooves on the cobbles. The clanging rattle of the junkman’s cart that echoed off the stone and timber walls, filling the narrow street with a rumbling roar. Once awake, he heard the other noises of the mill town that were ever-present here in the outermost circle of the residential section. It was useless to try to fall back into dreams, and he’d be late if he did, so Tallie pushed back the covers and swung his feet to the floor. The bare wood chilled his feet as he walked to the window of the dormitory for single men and pushed open the panels of bullseye glass.
Imagine a world where to express emotion is strictly forbidden. No laughter. No friends embracing in the street. Not even a mother comforting her crying baby. This is the reality for the citizens of Ollas in Hallie Burton’s highly original debut novel. Following years of unrest, the governors have outlawed any pastime capable of evoking strong feelings, particularly music. If the population is kept subdued, they argue, it will prevent further conflict. Yes, it means sacrificing people’s creativity, their natural capacity for love, but they believe this to be a price worth paying for peace and stability.
In Ollas, anything that stirs the emotions is forbidden by the governors—especially music. So when Tallie Tarmelin, a farm boy from a lower-tier guild, is offered a scholarship for his talent in design, he keeps his head down and follows the rules. He’s terrified of breaking one of his society’s many laws and ruining his future. But feeling lost and alone in an unfamiliar city takes its toll, and Tallie accepts sympathy from a guildless social outcast even though he knows it could destroy his reputation.
“Damn it, Jack! Can’t we just go? My head is pounding.” Caleo held one hand to the side of his head to make the lie more convincing. In truth, his head had stopped hurting a while ago, but he needed an excuse to escape this constant interrogation. Caleo was annoyed when Jack didn’t even take his eyes off his Heart of the Destroyer arcade machine.
At seventeen, Caleo has never had what might be termed a normal life. Orphaned as a baby, he has been brought up by his eccentric grandmother at The Purple Rose bed and breakfast. He doesn’t fit in at school, bullied equally for his unusual pale skin and white hair as for being gay. However, when a stranger turns up to inform Caleo that he is part of a supernatural race called leeches, magical beings who steal the energy from those around them in order to fuel their gifts, things get a whole lot more complicated.
Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever.